Despite Jebe Noyan's importance to the expansion of Chinggis Khan's empire, the Mongol general remains a shadowy figure. In part this stems from the absence of any biography of Jebe in the Yuan Shi and much uncertainly surrounds when, and in what circumstances, he died. Here the argument is made that the Novgorod First Chronicle provides a description of Jebe's capture and death at the hands of the Kipchaks during the 1223 campaign which culminated with the decisive Battle of the Kalka River. The silence and ambiguity surrounding Jebe's fate in pro-Mongol sources of the thirteenth century can perhaps be explained by a taboo surrounding the disgraceful circumstances of his capture and execution.
The paper explores the implications which this identification holds for how we assess the westward campaign of Jebe and Sübe'etei (1220-1224), often perceived as a reconnaissance mission, and how the Mongol leadership viewed enemies west of the Volga in its aftermath. This, in turn, sheds light on the preparations the Mongols made for their return in force to the region in the 1230s. Finally a theory is offered for why Jebe's identification was not made previously which illustrates the challenges facing researchers of the Mongol Empire.